Book Banter: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Kate McCready, April 2024

Colleen Hoover’s poignant novel, It Ends with Us, guides readers through an emotional odyssey. Along the way, readers can identify intricate themes of abuse, love, and character development through the narrative of Lily Bloom. The vivid portrayal of her life’s timeline accurately shows the true feelings and experiences of someone carrying the trauma of abuse. Hoover does this by engaging readers through these authentic struggles, allowing for a connection for those who have experienced such turmoil, and those who can only imagine such pain.

The story oscillates between Lily’s diaries to her hero Ellen Degeneres, recounting her traumatic childhood marked by her abusive father Andrew, who constantly injured and berated Lily’s mother, Jenny: Then to the present– which is Lily’s adult life in Boston, and her experiences there after her father’s passing. Her relocation to Boston is in pursuit of opening her own flower shop and creating a fresh start until she finds herself entangled with a seemingly perfect neurosurgeon, Ryle Kincaid. Once the initial intimate allure of their relationship settles, Lily discovers Ryle’s behavior parallels her father’s, cycling her through another abusive relationship and mirroring her mother’s experiences.

From my perspective as a reader accustomed to a home filled with nurturing parental figures whose love and respect are constant, understanding the intent behind the survivor’s decisions can be challenging. While reading this book, I got to authentically feel Lily’s emotions, and intellectually comprehend all of the main character’s hardships. It Ends With Us gave me a new perspective and appreciation for the circle of people I have been surrounded with, those whom I might take for granted every once and a while. My reception of Lily’s trauma has changed my thinking; I have learned that I cannot judge those going through emotional distress, namely those who are constantly being manipulated into submission. Lily’s narrative is a powerful conduit that allows all types of readers to connect emotionally with her suffering and personally feel her inspiring revolution from a helpless, broken girl to a determined, tenacious, and immovable woman who survives such torment. Hoover’s intentions for Lily’s story are evident; she wants to initiate a conversation on abuse that challenges society’s preconceptions about survivors’ lives, and the persistence of love in the face of violence.

Lily’s life is far from over after her relationship with Ryle. Her flourishment after the toxic relationship serves as a testament to her resilience. Her unwavering determination to continue living her best life allows her to channel her passion into her successful business, and discover the strength to open up to a new, healthier love. The author masterfully creates a character of strength who accurately captures the emotions and difficulties involved in breaking free from the cycle of abuse. Today, it’s understandable that a lot of people may be uncomfortable with conversations about abuse, myself included. Hoover’s novel allows me to enter these discussions with a new understanding and a fresh mindset. More people need to learn about the signs of abuse and the real emotions and thoughts many might believe only they experience. This book creates a safe space to engage in these topics without referring to real-life scenarios. It Ends with Us reinforces the notion that real-life outcomes are shaped and driven by your pursuit and drive for what is best for yourself. This heart touching novel is going to be pulling heartstrings in theaters as of June 21, 2024. Although as the saying goes, the book is always better than the movie, this film sounds like it will be worth the watch.

Katelyn “Kate” McCready is currently a Junior at The Albany Academies. Kate is an avid reader and dedicated student ambassador who is studying AP Language, and is a member of the Spanish Honor Society. Kate has passion for dance and is captain of the Albany Academy dance program and studies. She competes in multiple genres of dance throughout the year. She currently holds numerous regional dance titles, and one at the national level. Kate is also a student representative for NYSEC, assisting with bringing a fresh student perspective to best practices in English teaching.

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